Home-made Wallpaper Paste

Home-made Wallpaper Paste

Flour, sugar and water are basic ingredients for many recipes and can be found in every kitchen. These simple components are used to create a huge array of doughs and dishes. But that's not all. This mixture is magical! Not only does it provide delights to tickle our taste buds, it can also be used for many practical household tasks - for instance for your next wallpapering project! It might sound slightly crazy, but it really works! And to prove it, we tried it ourselves.

To prepare your own wallpaper paste, you need one more important ingredient we haven't yet mentioned: Alum - a component used in many different areas, e.g. in tanneries, paper factories, gardens, and the cosmetics and food industries. The chemical compound of this double salt (potassium and aluminium) has a number of properties which can be utilised in many different ways. Did you know that, as long as about 2,500 years ago, it was used as a flame retardant in ancient Egypt?

You can purchase it in powder form at your local chemists, or from on-line outlets. By the way, you can use this wonder stuff to make your own putty, too! As an ingredient of wallpaper paste, its function is to provide adhesive properties - and it also works as a preservative agent. The other components do the rest: flour and water are mixed to create a dough-like base, and the sugar gives it its sticky consistency.

You need:

  • 350 g Wheat Flour (or just 1 1/2 cups)
  • 120 g Sugar (or just 1/2 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon Alum Powder
  • 700 ml Water (or just 3 cups)

This is how it works:

Mix the sugar and flour in a bowl. Slowly add 250 ml water (1 cup), making sure no lumps are formed. Transfer the mixture into a pan and add another 450 ml of water (2 cups). Continuously stir whilst bringing it to the boil on a medium heat. As soon as the mixture becomes firmer, take it off the heat and add the alum powder. Keep in an airtight container.


This is a very quick process, and the paste can be kept for a few weeks. Should it become too firm, simply add a little bit of warm water to make it more viscous and smooth. When you start using it for wallpapering, it should have a spreadable consistency. One major advantage: unlike shop-bought wallpaper paste, this magic mix doesn’t become clumpy. On top of that, it consists of natural ingredients and is very cheap to make. In addition, once you have spread the mixture on the chosen material, it can easily be repositioned until the piece is in the right place. It is the ideal paste for putting up posters, borders, smaller segments of wallpaper or even the odd whole length.

Text: szim